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Sunita Dhaimade

#214 Sunita Dhaimade, Class of 1996
(AA Early Childhood Education Child Development Specialist )

In March 1992, along with my family, I moved to the U.S.A. as my husband's family was settled here. I started my career as a Medical Assistant in a Doctor's office. After a couple of months, I decided to take classes at College of the Desert (COD) to become a teacher. I had my Bachelors of Art and Bachelors of Education degrees from India. While I was taking the classes at COD one of my professors came to know that I was a teacher in India. So she told me to visit and talk to the Director at the McCarthy Family Child Development Resource Training Center. After talking with the Director, Jan Barnett, who later became my Mentor, I started to work as student worker. I got my AA Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1996. Later on I worked as a Child Development Technician. This position gave me the confidence that I could pursue my career as an Infant Toddler Teacher. When a full time Specialist position came open, I applied for this position at the Center in October 1998. I have been here for 15 years. It's amazing working with children. Watching them grow and develop into little individuals is the most rewarding benefit. McCarthy Center at COD has given me a privilege of teaching and interacting with children during their most vital developmental years. My job gives me a tremendous amount of pleasure by working with children every day, being a Mentor to ECE students, and continuing my professional growth and development. I am thankful to COD for giving me this opportunity.

Claudia  Flores

#213 Claudia Flores, Class of 2005, Staff
(AA Liberal Arts Child Development Specialist)

In 1997 my family and I moved to the Coachella Valley looking for a better life. I decided to go to college and started taking Early Childhood Education classes in 2001. Four years later, I graduated with my AA degree in Liberal Arts and transferred to Cal State San Bernardino. After graduation I was unable to find employment so I came back to COD and enrolled in more ECE classes and at the same time started as a student worker at the McCarthy Family Child Development Resource Training Center. The next semester I applied to become an Intern. It was during this year as an Intern, working with a very experienced and knowledgeable teacher, that gave me the confidence to apply for a teacher position in the Migrant Headstart program.

After two years, I had the opportunity to apply for an ECE Specialist position that I currently have at the McCarthy Center. I am now in the enviable position of working with children every day, being a Mentor to ECE students, and continuing my professional growth and development. COD was here when I needed them and now I am honored to be able to pay forward all those years of support and education.

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Rosemary Perez

#212 Rosemary Perez, Class of 2007, Staff
(AA Early Childhood Education, Child Development Specialist at McCarthy Family Child Development Center)

I began this journey as a family child care provider 25 years ago. I am currently employed as a Child Development Specialist at the McCarthy Family Child Development Center and Lab School. Along the way I had mentors, Diane Russom and Wendy Sanders, to name a few, that inspired and encouraged me to pursue a career in early childcare.

I have always had a passion to give back to my community, especially where children and families are involved. I began my education at College of the Desert at 50 years old and received my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. College of the Desert not only stirred my passion to work with children, but inspired me to continue on to my Bachelors, which I received in 2011 in Early Childhood Education. I am currently in the Masters Program. During this time I became a Infant/Toddler Specialist through Wested (PITC) and provide trainings for family child care providers and early educators in my community. I have had the pleasure of also becoming a certified Mentor for College of the Desert and currently support lab students at the McCarthy Family Child Development and Lab School. Overall, I believe College of the Desert planted the seed for me to grow and succeed in all aspects of my career.

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Osciris Milward

#211 Osciris Milward, Transfer to California State University of San Bernardino, Staff
(Child Development Specialist, McCarthy Family Child Development and Training Center)

Since I was little I always wanted to be a teacher. My high school teacher was the one that really made me think about what type of teacher I wanted to be. Miss Tibbs was a person that took the time to talk, to help, and to always be there for her students. Seeing every day the way she was really involved in the life of her students because she wanted them to be successful, I realized that I just wanted to be just like her.

I took most of my requirements at College of the Desert and after three years, I transferred to California State University of San Bernardino and I got my BA in Liberal Studies. While I was going to school, I was also getting my experience working at McCarthy Family Child Development and Training Center at College of the Desert. At first, as a student aide and later, when I had the opportunity of applying to the position of a lead teacher, I took that opportunity and I got the job. I have being working in this school for 14 years and I hope that I am going to be there for many more years to come.

As a teacher, I believe that we are like a bridge on the life of our students. We are there to help them cross to the other side of the bridge by providing them with all the knowledge that they need in order to be successful in their future. I am giving them all the key points at the beginning of their life and helping them to be at the developmental level that they need to be. Thinking back to my Early Childhood teachers the ones that have helped me to think about continuing with my professional life are Miss Wendy Sanders and Miss Dianne Russom, my director. Miss Wendy and Miss Dianne Russom helped me to think about what else I wanted as a teacher. I realized that as a teacher we never stop studying. Next year I am going to go back to school to get my Masters in Education and Psychology. By taking this opportunity to go back to school, I am going to find more ways to help my students to be successful. Every time that I think of giving up because I think that I cannot do it anymore, my high school teacher comes back to my mind and I remember the words that she used to say, “If you want to accomplish something, you need to work hard to get it. If someone tells you, you are not going to make it, show them how you are not giving up. Life is not easy but if you work hard and you want to be someone in this world you are going to work hard to get it.” These words have helped me when I think of giving up. I think about how I have made a change already in the lives of my students and their families and I want to continue doing this job for many years to come.

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#210 Diane Gagnon, Class of 2007, Staff
(AA in Early Childhood Early Childhood Specialist)

When my son graduated from High School I decided it was time for me to go back to school. I started in the summer and took an English class. Writing essays was quite a bit different from when I had graduated in 1978; I used a typewriter back then. My class had several exchange students so our professor was very patient in teaching us how to use our computers to write a proper paper.

When I took my Early Childhood Education classes, my lab was done at the McCarthy Center here on the COD campus. I had an wonderful Mentor teacher, Rena Maddox. She was an incredible inspiration and had me look at Early Childhood in an entirely different way. How blessed I am. I am doubly blessed to have Rena Maddox as a co-teacher. She continues to inspire me and push me to go further with my goals and ideas for children.

The McCarthy Center is a fabulous learning and "hands-on" environment for the children in our community. The staff works together with parents to enrich the lives of each child.

Each class sets up activities according to children's interests both indoors and outdoors. This is a wonderful opportunity for me as a teacher to continue to learn and grow along with my toddlers.

I have changed from being a teacher that had a very busy primary color classroom into a teacher that realizes that neutral colors and natural materials are more appealing to toddlers. Children learn from their own environment so using items found in our environment are familiar to children.

Thank you to COD for not only a wonderful education, but an incredible place to work, that allows me to continue to grow in my wonderful and ever changing field of Early Childhood Education.

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